Chamber approved and dispatched a law for the restitution of compulsory voting, almost 11 years after the implementation of voluntary suffrage

Almost 11 years after the implementation of automatic registration and voluntary voting, the system will change again. The Chamber of Deputies and Deputies approved the Senate’s amendments to the project that reestablishes compulsory voting.

The proposal, which was born in the Lower House, was sent to the second stage of the Senate in June 2021. The changes made in this legislative process were approved today by 124 votes in favor, 6 against and 3 abstentions. With this, the proposal was able to pass to the Executive for its promulgation as law.

The new norm establishes that, in popular votes, the suffrage will be personal, equal and secret. In addition, it adds that this will be mandatory for voters in all elections and plebiscites, except in primary elections.

The text adds that a constitutional organic law will set the fines or sanctions that will be applied for breach of this duty. Thus, also, to the voters who will be exempt from them and the procedure for their determination.

“More democracy”

“Democracy is improved with more democracy” was an expression that was repeated in the debate in the Chamber. The parliamentarians who approved the proposal argued that what is sought is to correct the disinterest of the citizenry. Said situation was described as a serious deficiency of democracy.

They assured that this change will allow more robust electoral results, with more base and legitimacy. In addition, in his opinion, compulsory voting will make it possible to train more responsible politicians and public officials. In this way, the path to “clientelism with simple and populist ideas” would be closed.

In any case, there were those who warned that this decision cannot be taken as a political calculation, but rather as a measure to confront individualism. It was estimated as a minimum floor from which to build a greater interest and link with the citizenry.

Along with that, they highlighted the need to promote civic education at all levels, as well as punish misinformation and false news. In the same way, they appealed to generate a new media law to protect people’s right to information.

positions against

Likewise, there were those who did not support the constitutional reform. In their arguments, it was heard that a healthy democracy is one that forces them to participate because of their ideas and not because of a “straitjacket.”

It was put as precedent in the debate that a vast majority of countries in the world have a voluntary vote, so Chile would back down and form part of a minority.

They assured that the most important thing to re-incentivize people is the development of a greater civic culture and eradicating bad practices in politics. With the compulsory vote, they delimited, the system would once again be prohibitive and punitive.

The RN deputies Ximena Ossandón, Miguel Ángel Becker, Andrés Longton, Andrés Celis, Juan Carlos Beltrán and Eduardo Durán intervened in the session. Together with the UDI Cristhian Moreira, Daniel Lilayu, Henry Leal, Marta Bravo, Gastón Von Mühlenbrock, Felipe Donoso and Flor Weisse.

The deputies Raúl Leiva, Daniella Cicardini and Juan Santana also participated in the PS. In addition, Francisco Undurraga and Jorge Guzmán, from Evópoli; and from the PDG, Rubén Darío Oyarzo, Víctor Alejandro Pino and Roberto Arroyo.

Deputies Stephan Schubert and Agustín Romero joined the debate from the PREP bench. Likewise, the deputies Joanna Pérez (DC), Nathalie Castillo (PC) and Ericka Ñanco (RD) delivered their opinion. And the deputies Jaime Mulet (FRVS), Félix González (PEV) and Alejandro Bernales (PL).

Finally, the independent deputies Tomás Lagomarsino, Mauricio Ojeda, Jaime Araya, Leonidas Romero, Andrés Jouannet, Miguel Ángel Calisto, Hotuiti Teao, Felipe Camaño, Hernán Palma, Johannes Kaiser, Christian Matheson, Natalia Romero, René Alinco gave their vision. , Francisco Pulgar and Fernando Borquez.

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